Why feature an entire town? Because coastal Pacifica, south of San Francisco, is focused on creating the best for groups of up to 100.
“Meeting here is about the fresh air, the salt air, the wild air,” says Chuck Gust, owner of Nick’s Restaurant, a popular group venue on Rockaway Beach in Pacifica. “There is something invigorating about the coast that you don’t see in the city. This coast gives you a sense of purpose and power that your group won’t feel anywhere else.”
Nick’s has 1,400 square feet of meeting space or groups can buy out the entire restaurant. Just across the street is the 97-room Best Western Plus Lighthouse Hotel, one of the larger properties in the area.
“During breaks, you can walk along the beach,” says Marty Cerles, the property’s general manager. “That’s a plus you just don’t get in the city. When you meet in a city hotel space, you get to see four walls. When you meet here, you get to see the Pacific Ocean right outside.”
And for planners looking for a unique off-site venue, it doesn’t get much more unique than Sam’s Castle. Built in 1908 by San Francisco rail magnate Henry Harrison McKlosky, the oceanside castle is filled with antiques and memorabilia from the days when it was a popular movie set for everything from medieval England to Victorian India.
Little River Inn, Mendocino
There aren’t many golf courses that are also Audubon Society-certified bird refuges. The Little River Inn’s 9-hole course is one of them. Perched on a clifftop over the Pacific Ocean three miles south of Mendocino, the inn has been in the same family for five generations.
The inn offers 66 rooms, one of the top restaurants along the coast north of San Francisco and indoor meeting space for up to 100. An ocean-facing deck can be tented for larger groups, adding another 800 square feet of usable space.
Once attendees arrive, there really isn’t much reason for them to get back in their cars. Golf, tennis, hiking—it is all on property. Unless, of course, they want to escape for a sunset kayak trip, llama trek, spa visit or a little shopping just up the coast in Mendocino.
Freelancer Fred Gebhart is a San Francisco-based freelance writer who enjoys scenic drives along the Northern California coast.